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Last Updated: Monday, 17 November, 2003, 11:23 GMT
England defend game plan
England players recovering on Monday
England players recovering on Monday
England coach Clive Woodward was adamant his side would not be conned into altering their style of play for the World Cup final against Australia in Sydney on Saturday.

England's 24-7 victory over France in their semi-final attracted criticism for being one-dimensional from sections of the Australian media.

In wet conditions, England shunned the 15-man game that had shot them to the top of the world standings and reverted to a territory-based kicking style, with Jonny Wilkinson slotting five penalties and three drop-goals.

For the 1991 final against Australia at Twickenham, Will Carling's England switched from a forward-oriented approach to a wider, running game after "boring" jibes from then Australia coach Bob Dwyer - and lost 12-6.

If it was meant to be a kicking game William Webb Ellis would never have picked up the ball and ran with it in the first place
Former All Black Grant Batty

But Woodward insisted that his England team - installed as 7-4 odds-on favourites - would not be detracted from their winning formula.

"We do have a game plan, and the game plan is winning. It's not about marks out of 10," Woodward said.

"I think we can play in a whole variety of ways and that's the strength of the team."

Rod McCall, a member of Australia's 1991 World Cup-winning side, supported demands from former All Blacks wing Grant Batty for the value of drop-goals to be reduced to one point from three points.

"An attempt at a drop-goal is something you do if you couldn't be bothered [attacking] or you want to take cheap points," McCall said.

Batty had insisted: "If it was meant to be a kicking game William Webb Ellis would never have picked up the ball and ran with it in the first place - that was the idea.

"I have always thought three points for a drop goal was inequitable and it was a travesty to see Wales score three tries to one against England and lose."

But Woodward stood his ground, saying: "There will be a game plan clearly based on winning again.

"It's as simple as that. What's said in the newspaper will be interesting but no more than that."



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